Misleading and bait advertising

Traders can be imaginative when advertising and promoting their goods, but they have to ensure they are not misleading the consumer.

Misleading advertising is against the law.

Traders should do all of the following:

  • ensure advertised products are exactly as they have been described or promoted
  • specify defects when selling seconds or slightly damaged goods
  • must not imply endorsement, approval, performance characteristics or benefits their goods and services do not have.

Sale prices and discounts

Traders must ensure the impression they give of how the goods or services will be sold is factual.

If the store advertises a sale with 20% off everything, then that is what the customer has been lead to believe.

Low deposit or low repayment terms

Advertisements that show goods or services available at an attractively low deposit or low repayment terms must reveal the full price.

Bait advertising

Bait advertising happens when an advertisement promotes sale prices on goods that turn out to be not available, or available only in very limited quantities.

Customers are then directed to other goods that are at a higher price, or the same price but of a lower-quality, than the advertised goods.  

It is not misleading if the business clearly states in the advertisement that the goods ‘on sale’ are in short supply or only on sale for a limited time.

Traders are responsible for making sure there is an adequate supply of goods offered at a special price for a sale.

For more advice contact NT Consumer Affairs.

Last updated: 11 June 2015

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